5 tips for navigating your first online course

December 3, 2018

At Capella University, we understand starting your first online course can be intimidating.

You may be asking yourself, am I prepared? Do I have what I need for my course? What should I expect?

We spoke with students who recently completed their first course, and asked them to share their top tips on what they did to prepare for their first day.  Here are the top 5 tips for new students.

1. Take time to prepare

“The University Orientation Seminar prepared me well for my new adventure in online learning. It gave me the opportunity to familiarize myself with many useful tools and resources on the web platform. The activities were also extremely helpful in identifying the skills I would need to improve on to be successful. The time management discussion helped me understand how I could work to balance coursework with the rest of my life. The first course also included a lot of motivation from others who have already gone through this journey. Some of these individuals also had full-time jobs, families, and other things going on in their lives. What I got from their messages is that if they can do it, so can I.”

“I am so glad that I had the time to navigate through a mock class. Having the opportunity to create and submit an assessment was a big help in understanding the process.”

2. Explore the courseroom

“I appreciated being able to access my courseroom ahead of time. Having the opportunity to create and submit an assessment was a big help in understanding the process.”

“On the first day, I knew how to access important information such as due dates, where grades would be posted, how to contact faculty, and how to access required textbooks. From day one, I was able to focus on my initial assignment.”

3. Use the scoring guide to prepare for written assignments

“I wanted my first attempt to be proficient at minimum, so I used the scoring guide to help me identify what I needed to research, what points needed to be addressed, etc.”

“The scoring guide gave me a clear description of the criteria necessary to get the highest grade possible.”

4. Familiarize yourself with the APA style guide

“I was so glad to learn about the APA Style Guide. It definitely did help, especially for correctly citing references from various sources.”

“In the past, I have only used MLA style, so this was a big change with new guidelines to follow. University Orientation Seminar helped me get prepared for switching to APA and the proper techniques.”

5. Start early and prepare with online orientation

“Both the online orientation and having the early access to the class were helpful.”

“The orientation had so much good information and touched on questions I didn’t even know to ask. I had early access to courseroom so I could become a Blackboard expert before my class started. In my short experience with Capella, I have been utterly surprised at how much they want you to succeed and how many tools they give you to make it happen.”

New to online learning? Learn more aboutonline degree programsfrom Capella University.

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